A wedding can be anything from a magnificent, expensive, lavish party to a quiet, quaint, private celebration. Where you fall in that range is entirely up to you! Since your wedding is such a huge milestone in your life, it’s good to set wedding goals before you come to that big day.
These goals can have to do with wedding planning, important events on the day of, or even things that go beyond the day of the wedding. Setting a few wedding goals can help you plan out what’s important to you in addition to helping you keep things like your finances on track, so there’s no reason not to set them!
For the Wedding
Everyone has goals for the day of their wedding. It’s a magical day, and we all want it to turn out exactly how we want. However, a wedding is made up of a lot of different variables that come together to create one good celebration, like the weather, food, venue, and the guests themselves!
Getting everything to execute flawlessly on the day of your wedding can be tough, but with proper planning and goal-setting, it’s possible. Planning ahead can give you an advantage in letting you prepare for unforeseen circumstances and other roadblocks that might appear on your wedding day.
You should have a backup plan in place for every aspect of your wedding, be it decorations, food, or venue, just in case something goes wrong, such as:
- If you’re planning an outdoor wedding, make sure your venue has adequate indoor space, or have an alternative lined up just in case
- Make a note of several caterers you wouldn’t mind providing food just in case one doesn’t come through
- Make sure there is room for your guests to bring guests, even if they’re not supposed to
- The bride should consider having a backup dress in case she gains or loses weight or damages her first choice before the wedding
- If you’re ordering custom decorations, make sure you have a backup option in mind in case they don’t arrive in time
In addition to those backup options, you’ll want to give several months’ notice for certain services, such as:
- Catering plans
- Choosing and fitting a dress or suit
- Reserving a venue
- Sending out invitations and collecting RSVP cards
- Making catering plans
- Ordering or making decorations
- Making honeymoon plans
One of the key goals for making any wedding run smoothly is keeping everything running on or ahead of time. Planning your perfect wedding and having one aspect of it show up late or rushed can make it feel like your whole day’s been ruined. If you want to have the perfect wedding, don’t put anything off for the last minute!
The Day Of
The day of your wedding will be a hectic day! Whether you’re the bride or groom, you’ll likely spend the majority of the day preparing the food, venue, or yourself for whoever will be coming to visit. If you’re planning just a small gathering, this might take less time, of course, but just be aware that you’ll likely be exhausted when the day is over.
Luckily, that’s what your honeymoon is for! Your honeymoon will be your time to relax and enjoy private time with your new spouse after the stress of planning and executing your wedding. When you’re looking back on it from your chosen honeymoon destination, it will all be worth the time, effort, and money you invested, because you will have created a memory that will last forever.
When the big day comes, you should probably have just about everything planned out already. There won’t be much time for last-minute changes! Like we mentioned above, make sure you have backup plans in place for most parts of the wedding in case something goes wrong, and make sure to plan everything far in advance, too! Leaving reservations to the last minute is a good way to miss out on your first choices for things.
However, what you decide the size of your celebration should be will make a big difference in how the day plans out. A small reception might not even require a venue rental; you might be able to set up a wedding arch in your own backyard if you have a picturesque property. Additionally, with a small party of people, you could possibly head out to a restaurant to eat afterward, instead of having to worry about planning a reception.
If you make plans for a large celebration, you’ll likely need to rent out a large banquet hall or park for the reception to take place in. The marriage ceremony doesn’t usually take place in the reception hall, either.
The ceremony itself usually happens in a different venue, like outside the reception hall in a scenic area, or in a church. Keep this in mind, too – if your chosen reception hall doesn’t have a suitable area for the ceremony, you may need to make an additional reservation!
Guest lists can be a tricky thing to form. While thinking about who you want on your guest list, you’ll need to decide how big you want your celebration to be, too. While big, grand celebrations are lovely, they are less personal than small ceremonies, and much more expensive.
When creating your guest list, you’ll need to ask yourself several other questions in addition to how big you want the celebration to be, such as:
- Do I want children allowed at my wedding?
- Should I allow my guests to bring guests?
- Are there any people I explicitly do not want there?
- What will my guests be eating?
- How many guests can my venue hold? Do I need a different venue if the one I chose is too small or too big?
- Do my ceremony venue and reception venue have enough parking for all of my guests?
There are hundreds of more questions you should be asking yourself besides the above, too – don’t just stop there! Things like relatives who don’t get along, guests with disabilities, and the weather around that time of year should all be taken into account.
Deciding how big you want your guestlist to be can be tricky because it directly controls the costs of almost every aspect of your wedding. Keeping the guest list small and private is an excellent way to keep costs down for the ceremony itself. For example, a shorter guest list means:
- A smaller, cheaper venue
- Fewer decorations
- Less food to be catered/made
- A smaller wedding cake
- Less time spent greeting guests
If you’re throwing your wedding on a budget, maintaining a small guest list might be the thing to do, even if it’s tough! Weddings can become very expensive very quickly, and planning for a big guest list with a small budget can be a slippery slope.
Of course, there are creative things you can do at your wedding to keep costs down, such as using your own property and making your decorations, but these things get more difficult as the guest list grows, too!
The venue you choose for your wedding ties into every other aspect of it. The decorations you choose need to fit the venue, it needs to handle the number of guests you invite, and it needs to fit your budget. Venues can be flexible, but they can also limit your plans if they don’t provide many amenities.
Consider, for example, a bride and groom who have rented a venue for their wedding that has only a covered pavilion for indoor space. They were planning on nice weather for the wedding itself, but it turns out that a storm blows in for the day of the ceremony.
While the pavilion shelters them from the rain, it does not keep the wind out! If they had rented a property with a barn or other accessible building instead, they could have prevented or prepared for that scenario.
That’s just one of the things to consider here. Many engaged couples choose two different venues for their ceremony and reception, but this is a high-cost, high-profile choice. Many venues that commonly host weddings have space for the reception as well as the ceremony, and these venues can range widely in size, supporting both large and small weddings.
If you’re looking to keep costs to a minimum, it may be cheaper to look for a dual-purpose venue, but if you can’t find one nearby that suits your tastes, it may be necessary to default to using two different venues. Consider the costs of both, and if it comes out to too much, you can always look to using a relative’s property or something similar.
If you desire, there are also several options available for free or very cheap wedding venues that you can find online. However, these may not be available in your area, or they might be booked out far in advance. If you’re looking for an affordable venue, make sure you do your research, and do it early, because there might be options near you that you never thought about!
Decorating your venue is an integral part of your wedding, too! Special wedding-focused venues may already come with some sort of decoration option on hand, and some might even decorate for you at an additional cost, but if you want personalization and uniqueness, you may want to look into decorating yourself.
The cost of decorations can vary widely depending on where you get them from. You might find yourself in any of the following scenarios, ranging from least expensive to most expensive:
- Receive extra or old decorations from someone who was recently married
- Buy supplies and create your own decorations
- Buy premade decorations and set them up yourself
- Hire someone to create and set up decorations
You’ll rarely be able to receive your decorations entirely for free. If you don’t mind a mismatch of decorations, you may be able to find extras from others online for cheap or free, but you may need to assemble many extra batches before you receive everything you want. The most reliable affordable option is to create your own decorations from materials you purchase yourself, but this can be a lot of work!
If you are having a small, private wedding ceremony, it’s very economical to make and install your own decorations. You may even be able to find a set of extra decorations that’s big enough to cover a small venue entirely.
However, if you’re having a large celebration, making and installing your own decorations can quickly become an ordeal! If you give yourself enough time before the wedding ceremony, you should have plenty of time to create all the decorations you could want, and you can even ask some good friends to come out and help you make them.
However, if you have thousands of decorations to create, it may be worth the investment of having someone take care of them for you at that point.
Of course, the limiting factor for any wedding ceremony is the budget! The budget controls the size of your guest list, your venue, your food, and your décor. It’s crucial to research how much things will cost, evaluate the finances you have available, and set a firm budget before you commit to anything. A budget that spirals out of control can quickly affect the future finances of the couple in question.
Planning a wedding is undeniably expensive, and this is why having a rigid, fixed budget is so important. If you’re not committed to a budget, you may end up with an exorbitant bill when the wedding is over!
If you don’t think you can adhere to a strict budget yourself, think about hiring a wedding planner who specializes in such things. A wedding planner will be able to help you find decorations, venues, and other options that fit your budget, in addition to making sure everything is coherent in the end! However, if you do decide to hire a planner, you’ll need to budget for them, too!
When creating your budget, you should portion out different amounts of money for each part of the wedding. You should have a certain amount set aside for things like:
- The venue
- Food or catering
- The bride’s dress and the groom’s tuxedo
- Hired personnel
Besides the above, though, you should always have some money set aside in a “wedding contingency fund” as well. We’ve already explored many of the things that can go wrong at your wedding in this article, and if you want to be able to handle these things gracefully, a contingency fund is crucial.
One of your wedding goals should always be to adhere to your budget or even come out below it, but a contingency fund acts as that extra bit of wiggle room for when you can’t resist a cute decoration, find the dress of your dreams that’s a bit too expensive, or need to make a last-minute venue upgrade.
If you can’t adhere to the budget you’ve set aside for each aspect of your wedding, at least adhere to your budget as a whole. You can always choose a cheaper venue, shorten the guest list, or create your own decorations if you simply can’t resist something else for the wedding.
Your goals for your wedding won’t all be related to planning, of course. You will have your own goals for your happily ever after with your loved one, and these likely include a happy, peaceful life together, lots of love, and potentially starting a family.
You’ll want to incorporate all of these hopes and dreams into your wedding as a whole, but your vows themselves are an exceptional way to show how much you love your significant other. Your vows can be customized however you want, or you can use the tried-and-true lines that have been used for years. If you desire, you can surely find inspiration online for your vows, or you can create some that are entirely your own.
Your significant other may be creating their own vows, as well, so make sure you don’t let them down! It should be understood between the two of you whether you’re both making custom vows or both using traditional vows, though, as it may fall flat if one of you proclaims extensive, personal vows and the other only cites the traditional ones.
Don’t reveal what your custom vows are if you have them, but make sure this is understood between the two of you before the wedding day. If you want, you can practice saying your vows to each other before the fact, but it will have more of an impact if you keep your vows secret until the day of the ceremony.
Your vows can’t drag on forever, but one of your wedding goals should be to formulate meaningful, concise vows that do their best to accurately convey the feelings and intentions you have for the future with your significant other. Take plenty of time to write out your vows and make sure they’re perfect, as you may want to renew them sometime down the road, too!
The wedding ceremony is a distinctly important part of your wedding day. The ceremony itself will involve stating your vows, of course, which we talked about above, but it will also include a third party presiding over the proceedings to witness the joining between the two of you. This third party, whether it’s a religious person or not, is an essential part of making your marriage legally binding and valid.
You should choose this third party with a considerable amount of care. This party needs to be able to legally marry you two, at the very least, but they should also be someone important to you and your significant other, if possible. If you’re having a wedding that’s tied in with your religion or faith, it’s common to choose a pastor or other religious professional that you’re close with to watch the proceedings.
Most religious professionals are legally allowed to marry two people, but outside of that, who can function as a minister may be less clear. Judges, notaries, justices of the peace, and other public service officials can also marry people.
However, if you have someone specific in mind for the job, such as a sibling or close friend of the two of you, it may be possible for them to be given “temporary officiant” status in order to perform the ceremony. The requirements for obtaining this status vary based on where you live, so if this is a route you’re interested in taking, make sure to do your research beforehand.
After the Wedding
What goals do you have for after your wedding? Once all of that planning for your big day has paid off and the festivities are over, what will you be looking forward to next? More than likely, you’ll be relaxing at your honeymoon destination and basking in the presence of your spouse, but just because your wedding’s over doesn’t mean your wedding goals are.
You should be forming goals for the marriage between you and your spouse long before you ever start making wedding plans, of course, but more of these will probably come up while you’re planning for the big day. You might have goals of keeping future arguments between you to a minimum because planning for the big day has stressed the two of you out, for example.
What kind of life are you looking to have with your new spouse? Are you looking to start a family or maybe start a business together? Perhaps the two of you share a common passion, and you’re looking to make that a part of your lives. You’ve probably talked about most of this with your spouse before the wedding, but now is the time to finally put it into action!
Happily Ever After
Any couple who gets married is looking for a happily-ever-after together, of course, but this dream of the future can take different forms. Some people are just looking to enjoy their spouse’s company while living and working peacefully, and that’s all they want out of life. Some couples want to travel the world together, searching for the next big adventure that they can tackle side-by-side.
Regardless of what you and your significant other have dreams of doing, you should be setting goals to get started with this right after your wedding! A couple who wants to travel the world, for example, might get started early by planning their honeymoon in an exotic destination full of things to do. A couple just looking for peace might already be browsing little homes in the countryside that they can use to get away.
Furthermore, your happily-ever-after should be decided only between the two of you. No one else has any say in what the two of you want to do for the rest of your lives (as long as it’s legal, of course). Following the deepest-held dreams and goals between the two of you should be one of your top priorities.
After all, if you have nay-sayers who don’t want you and your significant other to follow your dreams, whatever they may be, you don’t need to invite them to the wedding.
Marriage goals are what comes after your wedding goals. Marriage goals are the goals you have for your marriage, of course, and they may span over many, many years. If one of your marriage goals is to raise a family, for example, depending on how big a family you want, this could take a while!
You have probably sat down with your significant other and set some marriage goals before your wedding, of course, but if you haven’t, your honeymoon, when stressors and conflicts are at an all-time low, is a great time to do this. Consider goals like:
- Keeping time spent together a priority
- Focusing on communication, both when we argue and when we’re happy
- Making time for intimacy and closeness, no matter how busy our lives get
- Practicing forgiveness and understanding whenever possible
- Making time for each of us to have “me time”
- Sharing our goals and aspirations with each other
- Keeping ourselves open and honest with each other
There are hundreds of different resources online to help create a better, more fulfilling relationship, but each couple is different. You’ll need to figure out what works for the two of you more than following any predetermined template. Of course, it’s always good to start from an established source, but don’t let that constrain you to any one path. Follow both of your hearts!
It’s clear that your wedding goals can extend beyond just the day of union. Your wedding is a day that should be remembered for the rest of your lives, and it should serve as an inspiration between you to keep things happy, agreeable, and positive. If you and your significant other can get through the ordeal of planning a wedding, you can do just about anything, after all!